In the safe & suburban Central Texas city of Round Rock, a group of parents, staff, and students are raising red flags over the potentially dangerous environment at their local schools—and so far, district officials have only disregarded them.
Round Rock Independent School District is situated in the northern suburbs of Austin, in a community long considered safe from the craziness of the state’s notoriously liberal capital city. Yet, based on a series of tips, Texas Scorecard has interviewed a handful of individuals experiencing a free-for-all locker room rule in the district’s schools; many of these individuals even know of school plans to place boys in girls’ hotel rooms during school trips.
To protect the minors and their families from harassment or punishment, this report will refer to these students, parents, and responsible staff by pseudonyms.
Boys Permitted in Girls’ Locker Rooms
Two female high school students—referred to as Heather and Lauren—told Texas Scorecard about their first experiences in the troubling series of events.
“I became aware of it about a month ago when I was getting dressed for school [in the locker room] out of my sweaty gym clothes, and I had just taken my shirt off,” said Heather, “when I noticed someone who looked a lot like a dude standing there using the sink and stuff. And I got really scared because I didn’t know that they were a biological male … so I quickly put my shirt back on then I immediately left with all my stuff.”
Lauren relayed a similar story. “I remember I was going in [to the locker room] and I was getting changed when, out in the open, I saw an individual walk in who I know is a biological male,” Lauren said. “It just kind of really caught me by surprise; it caught me off guard. So, I just quickly got dressed and just got out really quickly.”
She added, “I didn’t actually know what I was thinking in that moment. My first thought was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what just happened? What did I just see?’ And then my second thought that came immediately after that was, ‘Wait, why am I even disturbed by this?’ Because I’ve been told it’s normal.”
Both girls said they were initially startled, confused, and afraid to tell anyone, “especially now, because you are called a bigot if you have a certain opinion on certain things.”
However, about a week later, Lauren said a trusted friend brought up the issue.
“[My friend] was like, ‘Have you experienced this? I don’t really know how to feel about this,’” Lauren said. “And I was like, ‘No, I totally agree with you; I feel the same exact way.’ And it felt like a relief to be able to hear that from another individual who’s my age.”
“So after I heard that, I felt a little bit better about it. But I also felt worse because it was like, I’m not the only one feeling this—that means other people also feel like they can’t speak up about it,” Lauren continued. “So, I realized we probably had to take some sort of action to do something.”
The girls also emphasized that the problem was not those particular male students struggling with their biological identity, but the district’s apparent lack of any rules or protections for all students. School officials were seemingly allowing anyone—including those who could mean harm—to walk into any intimate, gender-specific room.
Are There Any Protections?
Soon after, several parents got involved; for the sake of this story, we’ll refer to them as Crystal and Julie. They first sent an open records request to the district, asking for their bathroom/private facilities policy (with no response as of yet). They then sent their questions up the district food chain, first to a teacher (who replied they did not have the power to fix the situation), then to a high school principal, the school board, and finally the superintendent and his leadership team.
“At Stone Bridge High School in Loudoun County, Virginia, where the school board’s policy on ‘gender expression’ provides a similar environment as presently experienced at RRISD schools, a ninth-grade girl was allegedly raped in a school bathroom by a so-called gender-fluid male student wearing a skirt,” wrote Julie to the school board.
“Please take the time to craft, with parent input … a district-wide policy and action plan to address this dilemma.”
Only two of the seven school board members—the same two who were the only ones fighting for parental rights and transparency in the district’s other recent tumultuous events—responded.
“Yesterday Trustee [Mary] Bone and I both inquired to the superintendent, in writing, about this,” wrote RRISD Trustee Danielle Weston. “I seek to protect our students’ safety and do not want what happened in Loudon County to happen here.”
Meeting With the Principal
Meanwhile, the parents and Lauren were able to meet with one of the district’s high school principals, who actually confirmed they will allow anyone inside any private room, including boys inside the girls’ dressing rooms.
“That is what I’ve been told from [the legal department], that every student is permitted to use a restroom if they choose to,” the principal said.
“So this policy comes from legal?” asked Julie.
“Mhm,” the principal replied.
Later in the conversation, Julie asked who in the district is creating the policy.
“So does legal have a policy in place?” she asked.
“No there’s no policy in place,” the principal replied. “The policy is this: Every one student at a time, every situation one at a time. And if the student chooses to use the restroom [of their choice], they’re going to be allowed to use that restroom.”
The principal then suggested if they wanted to feel safer, the biological female students could make their own adjustments. He said they could go to a different locker room, change in a bathroom stall, go home, or even change inside a pop-up tent in the bathroom.
“What’s also an option is to get changed out in the open, like with everyone else, no matter what body parts you have,” Lauren told the principal. “You could get almost fully stripped down, completely naked with a bunch of other people in the room who are also high schoolers and minors in the same age, just to be completely clear.”
“You could do that; I wouldn’t want to do that,” the principal replied.
“But that’s what we’re looking at,” Crystal remarked.
The principal later added that if they didn’t like those options, they could go to the school board.
“That [solution] is not gonna come from my chair, not my pay grade. That’s gonna come from … change like that, [a gender-separate locker room policy] is big change.”
Is “Hope” Enough of a Protection?
The parents then brought up the Loudon County incident again.
“Fortunately, we haven’t had that issue,” the principal replied.
“Is that going to happen before we do something?” Julie asked.
The principal then gave an example of someone running a red light, saying, “We don’t know who’s going to do what.”
“But you don’t want to wait ’til it happens to be able to address the problem,” Lauren said. “You want to figure out a way to be proactive.”
“Have adults and staff also been given the legal go-ahead to use a different gender’s bathroom?” Julie asked.
“No one’s asked,” the principal replied.
“So, with students, can they just go ahead and show up one day and say, ‘I’m female today,’ and go in [to the locker room]? Or do they have to go—”
“Could they? Sure,” the principal said.
“Are they allowed to?” Julie responded.
“This is what legal has provided me with, yes,” the principal said.
Lauren then said the reason she brought up the issue was to make the principal aware that it was happening and that it concerned numerous students. She also wanted to get an idea of his thoughts and potential action on it—but the principal said the matter was already settled.
“I had my solution early on, and I’ve been directed on what we’re going to do. And what we’re going to do is allow every student that identifies as a female to go into the female restroom,” the principal replied.
The principal concluded he “hopes” nothing terrible happens in the free-for-all locker room environment.
“Could we ever have a problem that you spoke about earlier [like the Loudon County sexual assault]? Obviously, anything’s possible. I hate that it would,” the principal said. “I never thought our kids would follow Instagram or TikTok the way they do. Could that happen? Sure. I don’t want it to. I hope it never does. I hope we’ve educated our kids enough at home to know how to behave appropriately and make right decisions, but kids are kids.”
“But here’s the question: Is hope enough?” Lauren replied.
What’s Going On?
After the meeting, the parents then went to the legal department to ask about the policy, but the question quickly got punted to other officials.
“So, this is probably a situation that is best addressed at the next level of administration,” replied district staff attorney Jacob Woolston.
The parents then said the principal directed them to legal, and that legal determined the private room policy, but the conversation went in circles. Woolston reiterated he wasn’t the appropriate contact for the question.
“Again, I’m not aware of any board policies, and I don’t believe it’s in the handbook,” he said.
Since then, the parents have continued contacting various district officials, but with little results. As of Tuesday, both the school board and superintendent Dr. Hafedh Azaiez still have not responded (after several weeks); Azaiez’ executive assistant passed the parents around to a couple of different executive leadership officials who did not respond. Finally, the parents got a meeting with Dr. Daniel Presley, the chief of Schools and Innovation, last week.
The parents said that meeting was similar to their meeting with the principal, but this time, the parents brought up new information: The district was supposedly scheduling male students to share a hotel room with girls during school trips.
Boys Rooming With Girls on School Trips?
“We found out for [an upcoming out-of-town school] trip next week, the biological male student is listed as rooming with two female students,” Julie told Texas Scorecard.
“Dr. Presley assured me during this talk, that in absence of policy for all such questions and also the issue of room assignments on over-night trips, the teacher/principal holds the role of informing parents and hopefully making parents aware that a biological male might share a commonly assumed female-only space with girls,” parent Julie wrote in a subsequent email to a district teacher.
“Since we parents were not given a heads-up regarding the changing room incident involving a biological male using an assumed female-only space, I wanted to avoid additional assumptions and misunderstandings in the over-night sleeping arrangements,” she continued. “I request full transparency on how room occupancy is handled for biological males wishing not to room with other males.”
A teacher responded that “the kids sign up with other students they’d like to room with. Guys with guys and girls with girls” However, a room assignment sheet shows a biological male student scheduled to room with females.
The district has not provided any further answers to the parents on that matter.
Students and Staff Respond to the Issue
“I’m super concerned about it … because it’s getting really bad,” one district staff member, called Olivia, told Texas Scorecard.
“I think the part that I really want to be put out there is for parents to talk to their kids and ask them questions—what are you seeing, what is going on?” she continued. “Because I just think the assumption is that it’s just business as usual. … I just don’t think parents have any idea that boys can walk right into the girls’ bathroom and girls can walk right into the boys’ bathroom.”
“It seems to be the new popular thing, coming out as another gender or as just something other than what they were born. They just want to be not themselves,” a district high school student told Texas Scorecard. “And of course, now people are saying, ‘Well, this is my identity now, so I deserve to go where I think I go.’ So, there are guys—biological males—going into the women’s restroom and just watching women change because that’s what they want to do.”
“I think everybody is staying silent about it because nobody wants to get called out as transphobic, and you automatically will be labeled that if you say something,” Olivia added. “When we have [substitute teachers] on our campus, a lot of them are labeled transphobic now because we have so many kids who have decided that they’re trans. It’s like somebody flipped a switch.”
“You can’t question things; you can’t have a different perspective or viewpoint because if you do, you are labeled everything bad—you’re just bad. And the kids know this, too. That’s why none of the kids are speaking up.”
Confusing and Endangering the Youth
Another student, referred to as Jonathan, told Texas Scorecard the real danger is the transgender ideology being forced upon school kids.
“Where the problem comes in is whenever we grant the whole premise of the ideology and say that, because your gender is malleable and changeable, we have to add in a rule that lets you go between bathrooms,” Jonathan said, explaining that such policy in their high schools allows an 18-year-old male to intrude into private rooms with 15-year-old girls. “If we write into the rulebook that biological males are allowed to pick whatever bathroom, it opens up the door for a lot of bad actors to prey on our kids.”
“Again, there’s no bathroom monitor. It’s not like the rule itself is just going to make sure all the crime goes away, but the rule is really a statement of truth and a statement of our morals,” he continued. “And whenever we either don’t have one or whenever we put in place a morally incorrect one … whenever we have those kinds of assertions, we’re telling our kids what’s right and wrong.”
Jonathan added the transgender ideology “seems rather counterintuitive and paradoxical” and the reason so many of those kids suffer with depression and anxiety is because “they’re living a paradox.”
“The whole foundational idea of it is that we’re trying to have kids really express who they are, [yet] through the pursuit of expressing your true self, you’re becoming the literal and exact opposite of that true self. … So, it’s really tragic that these adults who say that they care about mental health and about making sure our students grow up to be nice, strong individuals, completely ignore the whole philosophical underpinnings and the ideological underpinnings that really make an individual strong.”
District Officials Must Act
Regarding the district’s free-for-all private room environment, students Lauren and Heather said their principals and administration need to do something.
“There needs to be something written. There has to be something that is an actual rule or policy somewhere, because when you just throw it up in the air and say, ‘Well, we don’t really have anything,’ and you’re flying by the seat of your pants, people can get away with whatever they want,” Lauren said.
“I think that they should make it that the women’s locker room is solely for people that are biologically women,” Heather said. “And that’s not to alienate anyone. It’s just that one out of every three girls gets sexually assaulted in their life before they become adults, and this is super true, especially in public schools.”
“I think that they should have everyone else able to use the men’s bathroom or a staff bathroom or something like that, but there needs to be a space where just women can go … I cannot believe that this is a thing. It needs to be a rule that I can change in the locker room with my fellow girls, and we can feel safe and not like we’re going to get raped.”
Heather also questioned her high school principal’s response, as well as administration officials across the district.
“By not doing anything, [the principal] is … putting us in direct danger,” Heather said. “When you don’t have a policy in place, you’re opening the door for so many people who are not good people to come in and take advantage, and that’s what’s going to happen because there are crappy people at any school you go to.”
“This is happening. It is happening often,” staff member Olivia said. “It’s pretty much just ‘turn a blind eye and hope nothing bad happens.’”
“I just don’t think that parents realize there is not a rule; there are no protections in place,” she concluded. “Fathers of daughters, are you okay with this?”